"Tube Like" SS Integrated Amps


I'm looking for opinions on SS integrated amps that are often described as having a "smooth" or "tube-like" sound. Examples I've heard described this way are Audio Refinement Complete Alpha, Music Hall Mambo and Rega Mira. I'm looking at amps that cost no more than $800 used. There are far too many choices, especially if you include the Chinese made tube integrateds.

Do these amps represent a good compromise at the price point between SS harshness and tube flabbiness? Would a hybrid integrated typically do the tube sound better? The Jolida 1301, as cheap as it is, seems to consistently get high marks. I wonder what at this price point does the most right (and least wrong)?

meskandar
YBA YA201
Any Plinius Integrated (used) to be in your price range.
Electrocompaniet ECI-3 on the used market
Portal Panache used.
NAD 3020a, cross between el34 and a 6L6 amp.Its a smoothy

Audio aero hybrid prima,older one. I had it, its good.

Good luck on your hunt!
Naim integrated.
look into a hybrid amp which is tube preamp with a ss amp section. i have owned a few and right now own the 1301 and 1701 jolida hybrid integrated amps. they are both built like a tank and sound wonderful. i upgraded the tubes in the 1701 this past weekend with very good results. These amps are used in my den and rec room. big sound for their size and power ratings.
Rega Mira! Great Value, Bullet Proof & Reliable. Will drive a surprisingly wide range of speakers given it's modest power rating. Natural, musical, yet quick.

The best of both worlds at an awesome price point.
I second the Portal Panache, has alot of that Pass sound (tube like SS)
You may be able to find a used Pass Labs Aleph 3 for $800. The Aleph 3 is one of the the most tube like sounding solid state amplifiers ever.
Portal Panache (designed by Nelson Pass). My 400xi Krell, Naim, MF...alot of great choices. Choose from local sources so you can demo them at home.
I second Bnrlaw's recommendation of the ECI-3. Like the Electrocompaniet separates I've owned, it produces the most tubelike sound I've heard from an SS, and is easily the best partner I've found for my Merlin TSMs.
My vote goes to the Audio Analogue Puccini.
how different is the sound of a tube integrated from a "tube-like" ss integrated ?

if they sound different how reliable is the designation "tube-like", when applied to a ss integrated amp ?

for years i have searched for a "tube-like" ss amp. while i have not auditioned evrything, those ss amps i have auditioned do not sound "tube-like" at all.

there are many attributes of tube amps. the term "tube-like" should be defined to include attributes of tube amps. then again, there is the modern tube sound and the classic tube sound. it is useful to be more precise in the use of the term "tube-like" .
Companies like Plinius, Classe, Yba, Naim, and Pass have a reputation for being "Tube Like" but it is better rephrased, "some similarities with tubes sound". In the end it is still SS.
Second ELECTROCOMPANIET. Had a couple of their Intergrated amp and very tube like.
Another vote for the Electrocompaniet, I owned this one. Be carefull however with some faulty volume pots on certain units.

Naim ? This is as far from a ''tube sound'' as you can get in my book.
Mrtennis, I could have guessed your post without seeing your username. As usual, complicated and unclear. Why don't you just answer the question and keep it simple for once ?
Sonic, this is one of the few times (or the first?) I agree with Mr. T.

'Tube sound' means different things to different people. The vast majority refer to 'tube sound' as the coloration caused by a tube amp - speaker mismatch, hence the comments of 'tubby or loose bass', 'attenuated highs' etc. etc. associated with tube amps.

A good tube amplifier mated with the correct speaker will produce very solid bass and extended highs. Unlike a good transistor amp, the notes throughout the frequency spectrum will decay naturally as a tube amp has a much lower sound floor than a comparable transistor amp. Transistor amps tend to chop off the decaying notes.

Either way, no transistor amp can ever have tube sound.

Regards
Paul
Unlike a good transistor amp, the notes throughout the frequency spectrum will decay naturally as a tube amp has a much lower sound floor than a comparable transistor amp.

Pauly, please explain the term "sound floor." It's one I'm not familiar with.
>>08-19-09: Pauly
Sonic, this is one of the few times (or the first?) I agree with Mr. T.<<

Agreeing with Homer Simpson is a sure way to lose credibiity with the readership.